pic: TEAM 498, 80, and 696 (FINALISTS)

TEAM 498
TEAM 696


Congrats to you three. The gracious professionalism that was shown by you guys was truly amazing. It is good that FIRST awarded you three the sportsmanship. I wish that we had three more gracious professionalism trophies that we could award you. You are an inspiration to us all.


thank you, we really enjoyed this regional.
although i felt a little bit of disappointment, i believe that 498, 80 and 696 did the rite thing.
we feel proud.

hope to see you guys soon in L.A. :smiley:

Thanks for the compliments. I am a proud hater of malicious amateurism you know. What we did I know is something that some other teams would not have done in the situation, but when the time was taken to see the faces of our opponents, and see countless hours over several late nights, and the dedication and devotion and the truly great people they are, there was no question in our mind that we would allow them to play. My team along with many others is a strong supporter of a good set of rules and sticking to them. But in this case, the pure energy in the arena did something strange. The rules were morphed, and for the better, not the worse. I really just cannot describe it. I heard all three national anthoms, and heard Jesse McGuire (sp?) on that trumpet, and I remembered this when the 6 minute time limit expired and I felt great about what we were going to do. This game is not about minutes, it is about people, people who care. One of my team mates said to a judge, the match is only two minutes but that decision will last a lifetime. And a good decision it was.

I would like to personally thank the FIRST staff at the regional for allowing us to “bend” the rules and let 330 play. They truly deserved it.

This is really embarrassing to say, and if you don’t care about these things you may laugh, but I almost cried when they put their robot back on the field, not because I was sad we would lose, but because I was happy they would win.

These are the kind of moments that make FIRST what it is. And I hold FIRST and Dean Kamen personally responsible for making me a more productive citizen, and making this already great world an even better place.

Can you elaborate on what the situation was?

Confusion reigned to say the least. As we have put together the story this is what happened. This is a re-construction because no one person was there the entire time.

When Team 330 was preparing to put our robot on the field for what we hoped would be the final match, the cable connecting the RC to the radio modem got snagged and the socket got torn out of the RC. As some team members went searching for our electrical and programming guys, others dragged the robot to the pit and somebody got a spare RC from FIRST. Meanwhile the field team was stalling on declaring a time out. Eventually we asked for our allowed six-minute time out.

Unfortunately, getting the robot back to the pit, swapping the RC, programming the new RC and getting back to the field took seven minutes. (pretty good since the last time took over an hour) The officials informed somebody in a blue shirt (our color) in our alliance that we were not to take the field because we were late. But that person never told those of us working on the robot. As the announcer was saying that our partner would have to go it alone, our robot came racing from behind the curtain. The crowd went wild and our guys said that even if somebody had tried to tell them to stay off of the field, they couldn’t have heard them. The cheering was just too loud. So before the officials realized what was happening, the broken robot appeared on the field, obviously ready to play.

According to the rules, we could have been DQ’d and our robot immobilized for the match or even just removed. The head ref decided to give our opponents a choice. He could DQ us or they could waive the penalty and we would play the match. 498, 80 and 696 took the later course. As we heard it from the officials, there was by no means agreement within the teams on this and it was a really tough call. The really good calls are never easy. In this case I think they did the right thing, but maybe I’m a little prejudiced.

We played the match and our alliance won. I commented during the break between the Finals and the Awards Ceremony to some of our team that if we should win the Sportsmanship award, we’d have to give it back. There was general agreement on that. While we try to be really Good Sports and have won that award ourselves in the past, we have never been faced with such a choice.

At the awards ceremony, the judges announced that the Sportsmanship Award was being made to the Alliance of 498, 80 and 696. The place went completely nuts again, and rightly so. Obviously the judges had made a quick decision based on the outcome of the final match, but I cannot think of ANY better examples at that competition, or most others I have been to.

I have also heard through unofficial sources, that all three teams were offered slots at the Championship. I sure hope that rumor is true. Team 330 was pre-qualified this year, so the two slots we won in Arizona are up for grabs. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see them go to.

Three other people need special thanks for helping us. One is Dorothy Kam the long-suffering wife of our head electrical mentor. She showed up in the pit out of nowhere with the electrical notebook and dug out the wiring map for the RC. This was invaluable in getting the new RC wired correctly. (having everything labled helped too!). Another was Glenn from Team 60, who showed up at a run as soon as he heard we had a problem. While we didn’t need what he could offer, it was also a great example of sportmanship in itself. Tony from IFI was also with us the entire time and helped us figure out why the new RC wasn’t firing up. (A loose wire) We would have found it eventually, but it might have been minutes rather than seconds.

Chris, thank you for a clear explanation and painting the picture. All the teams stepped up to the plate in so many ways. So proud of the FIRST program, of the Phoenix regional, and all the teams you mentioned.

I echo what 'ol sanddrag said. I believe that FIRST is about learning. I think that our team was presented with a real world like decision. If they had nothing but their own hide in mind, then they would have said “no.” But they had the general welfare of the program in mind.

This attitude should be copied more in the real world. It seems like the idea of doing whats right for the sake of doing whats right, opposed to the idea of doing whats right to avoid trouble is not seen nearly enough.

I am proud of all the teams present. No one team could have made it where they are without the help of others. An example of this is the fact that we would have never made it to finals without help from 294 (they gave us their batteries).

See you all at LA. Don’t let all these emotional messages from our team make you think we won’t be up for some nice hard game play!! j/k